Fantastic and Free First Fridays: Math Antics


Before I begin....it appears that I failed to establish settings to allow readers to subscribe to updates to this blog. We'll chalk that up as a rookie mistake. Sooooooo...thanks to the much-appreciated suggestion of someone who came across CrowdED Musings for the first time last month, I've finally added the ability for you to follow the blog. 

If you'd like to do so, simply go to the CrowdED Musings homepage and enter your email address. This will ensure you get notifications every time we post something new. (I promise we will be writing more posts moving forward!!!!!) 
Just add your email via the CrowdED Musings homepage to be notified every time I want to spout off random things about OER, free resources, and digital literacy in adult education. This will also help assuage my fears that social media sites throttle my readership by asking me to pay "boost" my posts in order for them to be seen by people :)

And, while you are at it....please don't be bashful....share with other educators! As we move forward, we are not just going to showcase great resources, but will also be setting up discussion groups and webinars to share how to integrate these resources into classroom instruction (within adult education classrooms and beyond). So, the more people who are reading the blog, the more opportunity there is for the sharing of great ideas. 

September's (aka my birth-month) F^4 Resource of the Month

Recently, CrowdED Learning held its first fundraising event. As I prepared for the event, and in response to one of my trusted friends' guidance that I need to keep my presentation brief in explaining the organization and its mission, I decided to build a presentation driven entirely by emojis. Then, a few weeks later, I presented twice at a conference (1 hour sessions are WAY TOO SHORT), and the only bit of constructive feedback I got was perhaps my presentation had too much information and perhaps I talked to fast. Perhaps....

In any event, yes, I may tend talk too much. And yes, if given a time limit, you're darn certain I'm going to cram as much information as I possibly can into whatever amount of time I'm given. If sharing great information is crime, then I AM GUILTY AS CHARGED!!! In an age where minimalism seems to be growing in popularity, I guess you can just call me an information maximalist. 

I say all this because I have a sneaking suspicion the guys behind this month's Fantastic and Free First Fridays Resource of the Month—Math Antics—can relate. Sometimes, you just are really passionate about a topic and have a lot you want to share. And, in the entertaining library of highly engaging videos that is freely available on Math Antics, the brains behind this great operation—Rob and Jeremy—pack every minute with solid, high-quality content. And if you are like me—someone who loves math and detailed explanations of concepts—you will LOVE IT!

Math Talk Isn't Cheap...It's FREE

Math Antics is a set of 71 videos (and growing) organized into the topics/strands of Arithmetic, Fractions, Geometry, Percents, and Algebra Basics. All of the video content is absolutely free, and for an annual fee you can also access exercise sets, videos of examples, and worksheets that support each of the videos. They have samples of each of these that you can preview if you are interested in purchasing. (Side note: The worksheet samples I have looked at appear to provide a great deal of practice for each of the concepts covered.)

Math Antics includes over 70 videos covering a range of topics, all freely available. For an annual subscription, users
can also access exercises, video examples, and worksheets that provide practice of concepts covered in each video. 
As mentioned before, these free videos are incredibly entertaining and go into a great amount of depth (like, ME levels of depth :). Each video is around 10 minutes long, is highly visual and engaging, and provides a more comprehensive overview of whatever math topic is being covered than any other free video content I have seen out there.

Great Content is Accessible Content

While we know that video content is a highly preferred mode of instruction for many learners, it is important to be certain when using such content that instructors make some usage considerations. In particular, comprehensibility of content (including speed of delivery) and cognitive load are two important considerations when using video to introduce new concepts to learners. 

While I obviously think these videos are fantastic, they are definitely loaded with content. And in showing these videos to adult educators, it has been mentioned more than once that while the language level is kept at a good level for comprehensibility, the speed of content delivery can be a bit fast at times. 

However, both of these potential issues can easily be remedied! To address the fact each video has a high volume of quality content, I would recommended having learners playback the video in chunks. And, as we would encourage anyone in demonstrating good reading strategies, it definitely makes sense to have learners view each video more than once. 

To be certain the content is comprehensible in relation to speed of delivery, a tip I feel any instructor using video needs to share with their students is how to adjust the playback speed of videos. I try to show how to slow down the speed of video playback every time I present on OER usage because I think it is such a critical step in making content more comprehensible. 

To help you increase the accessibility levels of the Math Antics videos or any video for that matter, here's a how-to video that walks through the steps for how to 1) turn on closed captioning subtitles, and 2) adjust the playback speed of videos. (Here is a direct link to the video. The embedded video may not appear if you have blogposts delivered directly to your email.)

This all said, if you access the videos via the Math Antics site, you will not have the ability to show closed captioning. Fortunately, all of the videos are made available on YouTube as well, and the YouTube versions do include closed captioning. If you would like to use Math Antics videos and want to be sure closed captioning to be available to your learners, you can access all of the videos on YouTube via the Math Antics YouTube Channel

Using Math Antics with Adult Learners

While I have not gone through every single Math Antics video, I've not seen any videos that seem inappropriate for adult learners. Each of the videos I've reviewed provides a comprehensive overview of the topic and, in particular, does a phenomenal job of walking through and providing visual examples of vocabulary. 

If you are looking for blended learning strategies, one idea I might suggest is to have students watch a video on a particular topic prior to class and have them write down new terms they learn while watching the video, along with definitions and examples. Or, to support greater learner engagement, an instructor might wish to create a viewing guide that is pre-populated with terms students should be paying attention to while watching the video.
Each of the videos provides clear vocabulary instruction, showing key terms and
examples to support learner understanding of new terms. 
To have learners do an activity such as this, it will require showing them how to play and pause content, another important tip for making video content more comprehensible. Additionally, to avoid confusion and make the videos more readily available to learners, it might make sense to either text or email them a direct link to the video you'd like them to view, or have them subscribe to the YouTube channel. This will allow them to navigate the content more easily by way of the topical playlists that have been created on the YouTube channel, which matches how content is organized on the Math Antics site. 

Integrating Math Antics Content Using SkillBlox

CrowdED Learning is excited to share that the fine folks behind Math Antics have given us permission to include links to their videos in SkillBlox. Starting in early 2019 when we launch SkillBlox, you will be able to see how Math Antics videos can be integrated into skill-based instruction while using both publisher resources and open and free resources for which standards alignments have been entered into the platform.

Math Antics is also one of a number of great numeracy resources included on CrowdED Learning's Mathematics Skill Directory. AND, starting later this month, we are going to begin a series of discussion posts on the LINCS website, webinars, and a CrowdED Learning Google Group all focused on how to integrate great free resources such as Math Antics into adult education instruction. Stay tuned!!!!!!!

In the meantime, take some time to check out MathAntics and explore the great library of content they've put together to help "make learning math a little easier for everyone." And, if you think of it, be sure to thank Rob and Jeremy for making their video content free to learners.  

Want to join the crowd and make learning more readily accessible to all learners?

Please check out www.crowdedlearning.orgThere, you can learn more about our goings on and sign up to volunteer your expertise, stay in touch, or make content recommendations. 

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